HC notice to Centre, Delhi govt over uniforms for auto, taxi drivers
New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Thursday sought responses from the Centre and the Delhi government on a plea challenging mandatory uniforms for auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers in the Capital.
A bench of chief justice DN Patel and justice Jyoti Singh also issued a notice to the Delhi Police on the petition which said that challans upto ₹20,000 were being imposed on auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers in the national capital for not wearing uniforms even though the law itself was vague and ambiguous on the colour or type of their uniforms.
The petition moved by Chalak Shakti, a drivers’ union, an auto-rickshaw driver and a taxi driver alleged that labelling drivers by way of uniform violated fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
The plea said the uniforms restricted their individuality and self-expression as well as amounted to an additional expense which forces a driver to cut corners on keeping himself hygienic and thus posed a health risk to passengers.
It was further argued that there is complete ambiguity on the colour of uniform to be worn by auto-rickshaw drivers on duty as Rule 7 of Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993, prescribes khaki but the permit conditions by state authorities mentions grey.
“There is complete disharmony between the NCT and the Transport Department. Auto drivers are being heavily challaned,” advocate Paras Jain, appearing for the union and the drivers, told the court which listed the next date for hearing on August 20.
The petition filed through advocate Mohini Dubey has stated that there are dozens of prominent shades of both khaki and grey and since no particular shade had been stipulated, the enforcement authorities were left with a wide berth on who they wanted to prosecute.
The petition also stated that the uniform itself has not been defined so as to mean pant-shirt, safari suit or kurta-pajama and that even specifications of fabrics, trims and accessories are also absent.